Zurich Insurance mulls A$2 bln buy from Wesfarmers -report

ZURICH Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:29am EDT

ZURICH Oct 31 (Reuters) - Zurich Insurance is in advanced talks to buy Australian Wesfarmers' A$2 billion ($1.90 billion)insurance business, the Australian Financial Review said on Thursday, citing sources.

According to the newspaper report, Zurich has started due diligence on Australia's No. 5 general insurance company.

Zurich Insurance declined to comment on the report. Wesfarmers could not be reached for comment.

Zurich Insurance, which set up in Australia in 1961, has about 1,220 employees there.

The vast majority of Wesfarmers Insurance 3,600 staff are in Australia. It also has offices in New Zealand and Britain.

The Wesfarmers' divison is valued at between A$1.8 billion and A$2.6 billion, AFR said.

Its annual report says that operating revenue for the financial year ending June 2013 was A$2.1 billion while operating revenue for the group was A$59.8 billion. ($1 = 1.0537 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Additional reporting by Oliver Hirt and Caroline Copley in Zurich and Jane Wardell in Sydney; Editing by Louise Ireland)